Many schools in Shropshire have a variety of interactive solutions in their classrooms including Promethean, SMART, Hitachi, tablet pcs, wireless keyboard and mice etc. This can make it difficult for teachers to move from classroom to classroom and be able to use a common interactive software. Taking the previous scenario a step further, if a teacher/pupil moves school within Shropshire then they might well have to learn another interactive software application. So, wouldn’t it make life easier if there was a common interactive software application (like Office) throughout your school and the county? As an advisory service we would then be able to produce resources in one format and know that it would be accessible by all our teachers.
Another problems is that, even where schools have thought strategically about their IWBs and have a common format throughout the school, there has sometimes been a lack of pedagogical training and some IWBs are still not being used to their full potential and the software even less so.
This led to me spending the later stages of 2008 consulting with both Promethean and Steljes/SMART to try and put together an interactive software solution for Shropshire schools. For those who know me they will know that I am not the biggest fan of IWBs but I do realise the power of the interactive, multimedia software that comes with the board. The solution I was looking for had little to do with IWBs – it was mainly to do with the software, having the software installed on all pcs in a school and also have it available for students to use at home.
As I mentioned earlier the other weakness I think we have when we introduce software to a teacher is lack of training and support throughout their adoption. This being the case it was essential that what ever solution we put in place in Shropshire training was to be at the core.
As you will have noted from the title the Shropshire Heads ICT group chose to ‘partner’ with Steljes and roll out SMART Notebook 10 to all schools and Notebook SE to all students within the authority. All schools in Shropshire can download the software and obtain the licence key from (SLG username and password required). Both parties see this as very much a partnership. We will become a centre of excellence for SMART technologies and form part of their development team providing constructive feedback every step of the way.
Running alongside the downloading of the software, we have contacted both subject leaders for ICT/ICT co-ordinators and head teachers in all Shropshire schools and have asked them to conduct a skills audit. This staff questionnaire can be completed online within the Shropshire Learning Gateway . Once a school has a 75% completion rate by staff then Steljes will contact the school to arrange training. It is our intention that teachers will be grouped, when possible, into 3 tiers and the top tier will become trained as trainers to provide sustainability. We are also looking into the possibility of getting staff to document their development of interactive resources and using this as action research to form part of a Masters qualification.
For more information about this contact either Andrea Dunn, Steve Beard or leave a comment below.